Technology   //   September 30, 2021

Employers turn to tech players to help them manage vaccine mandates

Employer and government mandates that demand workers be vaccinated against and — tested for — the coronavirus has led to a gold rush among tech players promising to help companies manage all those processes and data.

These companies have distinguished themselves in any number of ways — from the employee health identifiers they track to the industries they provide coverage for. But there’s one thing they all have in common: each has come to figure largely in the future of the workplace.

The health compliancy platform Cleared4 offers custom solutions around COVID vaccinations and testing, with the aim of simplifying verification, monitoring and adaptability to changing COVID and infectious disease protocols. The platform provides consistent monitoring, which it considers to be “the most crucial piece for safe reopening.” The company issues more than 10 million “safe access passes” each month.

Cleared4’s business model has evolved along with the pandemic, providing not only businesses but academic institutions, sports and entertainment venues, and live events with COVID management solutions. It enables a user’s COVID status to be connected to any form of third-party access control in real time, allowing partners to select any combination of symptom checking, test results and vaccination data to trigger access to a location using any form of unique identifier, including custom QR codes, building access key cards or wearables.

The company, with clients including Netflix, Yankee Stadium and the City University of New York, said its business is growing 500% a month, with active users up 381,000 over just 28 days this summer. Only four hours after Netflix launched Cleared4’s tool among 6,000 employees, more than half had achieved fully vaccinated “BluePass” status — or when a person provides full proof of vaccination. The company said it can get a client onboarded in just 24 hours.

“Our tool allows for every business to personalize the experience, to pick the rules that say, ‘this is what safety and access mean for me — if you meet these rules, you can come in,’” explained Ashley John Heather, co-founder and president/COO of the company, who has been developing software and marketing solutions for more than 25 years.

Heather said Cleared4 is soon launching internationally, with clients in seven countries.

When asked about the role companies like his have come to have in the workplace — and how employees are responding to it — Heather likened testing and having to prove one’s COVID status to passengers having to take off their shoes at the airport security check post-9/11. “It’s frustrating, but accepted,” he said.

Meanwhile, LivePerson’s proprietary Bella Health app uses conversational AI to guide employees through rapid, self-administered and FDA-authorized COVID tests, with the ability to message with live support when needed. More than 25,000 people are now using the app every time they go into the workplace, according to LivePerson.

The company said the app — which is being used in more than 750 locations in the U.S., by employers including Citigroup — has helped catch hundreds of COVID cases before they found their way into the workplace, including cases among those who’d been vaccinated.

“It’s become a free-for-all since the Biden mandate — we get calls every day and right now there’s massive demand in the testing market,” said LivePerson’s founder and CEO Rob LoCascio, referring to the administration’s edict from early September that companies with more than 100 employees vaccinate or test weekly for COVID.

Processes that can be onboarded quickly across large enterprise clients are key. Yet many companies are still stymied by setting up the process. “Companies have got to move quicker,” he said.

One player with a unique selling proposition is Kameo, which bills itself as the leading provider of COVID testing and management services in the production side of the entertainment industry.

As productions vary in size and can have differing requirements from set to set, Kameo offers testing solutions that can be tailored to each production’s needs, in terms of cadence of testing, the types of tests needed and more. Kameo manages a fleet of mobile labs, providing effective and efficient on-site testing. Kameo also works with a network of vetted lab partners and medical professionals, allowing for sample collection at home or on-site.

Kameo’s vaccine passport allows productions to track the vaccination status of their cast and crew, while enabling them to adjust testing schedules according to who has and has not been vaccinated. Since its launch last year, Kameo has supported more than 150 productions and administered more than 80,000 COVID tests. 

Managing the safety of hundreds of people on a film shoot is complex business — and challenging. Kameo promises to simplify that. “Hundreds of people come together for a short period of time to put together a TV show or a film — there are different requirements, and the needs of production are fast-moving, 24/7,” said Kameo CEO Matthew Hibberd. “You have to be able to create a fluid solution for their needs.” He said the company works with 8 of the top 10 studios and operates out of a range of cities.

He also said Kameo plans to extend its reach beyond COVID. “In production, there is very little adoption of technology to make their lives easier,” he said, explaining that the short-term nature of production offers little incentive for shaking up processes, no matter how archaic. “You have a multimillion-dollar budget that’s being shared in Google Sheets,” he pointed out.

Kameo aims to change that, with offerings that manage everything from staffing to scheduling and payroll. As for COVID, how have those on set been responding? Admitting there was a learning curve early on, users have come to quickly get the process, Hibberd said. “I think people generally appreciate the fact that they can continue to work in an environment that is quite safe compared to other industries.”